The Soho described by Robert Louis Stevenson in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde as ‘a district of some city in a nightmare’ is dramatically different to the one discovered in 2011 by renowned Swedish photographer Anders Petersen. As part of a series of off-site artist commissions supported by Bloomberg, Petersen was invited by The Photographers’ Gallery to undertake a four-week residency in the bubbling creative underbelly of London. Turning his direct and unflinching gaze to the streets of Soho, Petersen produced a series which is both penetrating and sensitive to his subjects. His intimate, diaristic style of coarse black and white photography captures the essence of today's Soho while drawing you back into the depths of its history.
For a month Petersen immersed himself in the life of the famous London district, documenting the streets, pubs, cafes and private homes of the residents. This latest installment of his series City Diaries is a testament to the dynamism and diversity of the area and the people who frequent and live in it.
Anders Petersen (b.1944, Sweden) has exhibited internationally and won numerous prizes during his career. His first project, Café Lehmitz, was started soon after he had completed his studies with Christer Strömholm’s School of Photography in Sweden in the late 1960s. Photographing the late-night regulars of Café Lehmitz, a bar in Hamburg, the project was published in 1978 and has since become a seminal book in the history of European photography. In the mid-1980s Petersen focused his attention on people in locked institutions: prisons, a nursing home and a mental hospital. Since then he has published over 20 books observing people at the margins of society. He has been awarded ‘Photographer of the Year' (Arles, 2002) and was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize (2007).